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Series Review: Sense8

Sense8 is a Netflix original series that was created, written and executive produced by Andy and Lana Wachowski (best known for The Matrix trilogy) and J. Michael Straczinski (best known for Babylon 5).  The first season consists of twelve episodes and was released in June of this year. This story was filmed exclusively on location in London, Iceland, Nairobi, Seoul, Mexico City, Mumbai, Berlin, Chicago and San Francisco.

This series is visually stunning, from the opening sequence through to the last frame of the last episode.  You don’t want to look away, even in the face of graphic violence, because you may miss some of the incredible scenery.  The careful attention to these locations, lighting, camera angles, etc. is evident throughout the series.  Complementing the visuals is a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack with original music composed by Tom Tykwer and Johnny Klimek.  The carefully composed and chosen music accentuates each scene creating a suitable background on which the actors draw their lines.

The actors are so well cast, not just for their ability to tell a story, but for their appearance.  In most cases, an imperfect appearance, selling the idea that these are average people, living average lives before they encounter the extraordinary.  Each of these talented cast members use everything at their disposal to give an insight into their character and their character’s interactions with the others.  The story is multi-layered and complex and in lessor hands, it would, could become difficult to follow.  This cast nails every line.

Sounds like hyperbole, but this series really is that good.

Sense8 tells the story of eight strangers:  Will (Brian J. Smith) a Chicago cop, Riley (Tuppence Middleton) a DJ in London, Sun (Bae Doona) a corporate executive in Seoul, Capheus (Aml Ameen) a matatu driver in Nairobi, Nomi (Jamie Clayton) a trans-gender “hacktivist” and blogger in San Francisco, Kala (Tina Desai) a pharmacist and devout Hindu who is planning her wedding in Mumbai, Wolfgang (Max Reimelt) a locksmith and safe-cracker in Berlin with ties to organized crime and Lito (Miguel Angel Silvestre) an actor of Basque descent living a secret life in Mexico City.  These eight individuals are drawn together through mysterious visions of each other that seem to begin overnight.  Together they must solve the riddle of the visions in order to save themselves.  There are cameo appearances by Naveen Andrews (LOST) and Daryl Hannah which add to the mystery.  That is all the plot points I’m going to give away in this review.  To tell any more would be unfair to you, the readers.

If you decide to watch this, and you really, really should watch this, you need to commit to watching at least the first three episodes.  A story this complex is hard to get rolling in just one hour of TV.  If you are not hooked after the first three episodes, then perhaps this isn’t the story for you.  Either way your time will not be wasted as the visuals alone are worth three hours of your time.

The Wachowskis and Straczinski presented Netflix with a complete story plotted out over five seasons (similar to how Straczinski sold Babylon 5 in the 90’s) and the actors have been signed for all five seasons.  If the series continues to draw the numbers it did in its first season, there will be no issues retaining the talent for subsequent seasons.  In fact, season 2 has already been given the green light by Netflix and production will begin soon.

Sense8 is rated TVMA and contains graphic scenes of violence and sex (there is full frontal nudity by both genders) and the language doesn’t shy away from obscenities.

Watch it and let me know what you think, I welcome your comments.

3 Comments

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  1. I absolutely loved this series, as well. If it doesn’t get at least an Emmy for the cinematography, alone, then that’s an injustice. I came to care for each of these characters, and was on the edge of my seat during each episode. I can’t wait for next season.

  2. Deb, I watched this series on your recommendation and absolutely loved every second. It’s not really for the faint of heart, there are graphic scenes. As the individual characters come to learn about each other, it often results in beautiful scenes of love, support and companionship. The actors here were relatively unknown to me before but they are kicking real acting ass with their work. I definitely encourage you to watch this series, and like Deb said you have to watch the first three episodes to get set up for the real action. You also have to pay close attention or you could miss a crucial detail.

    Oh yeah…. and there is SEX. Pretty. Hot. Sex. 🙂

  3. Glad you both liked the show. I agree, there should be at least one Emmy (or SAG award) for this brilliant show. Season 2 is a go and I can’t wait to see what that brings.

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